Last weekend I was given The Year of the Flood in hardback signed by the author herself - with her own hand and not some long-distance pen. A pretty exciting present, as Margaret Atwood is one of my favourite writers. My American guests voyaged over with her from New York on the QM2 and met her in the ship's bookshop after a talk she gave.
So here is the blurb: 'Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners - a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, the preservation of all species, the tending of the Earth, and the cultivation of bees and organic crops on flat rooftops - has long predicted the Waterless Flood. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have avoided it: the young trapeze-dancer, Ren, locked into the high-end sex club, Scales and Tails; and former SecretBurgers meat-slinger turned Gardener, Toby, barricaded into the luxurious AnooYoo Spa, where many of the treatments are edible. Have others survived? .... By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most effective.'
As you see, it is an end-of-the-world dystopia novel, similar to Oryx and Crake. Both Toby and Ren are sympathetic characters and you worry terribly what will happen to them after the plague has killed off most of human life, leaving the spliced animals/bioforms to roam. Margaret Atwood's broad imagination takes you to weird areas and dark developments that occurred even before the Waterless Flood - do read it and see what you think. I much enjoyed it but it's a strange, different, gritty novel that might not be everyone's cup of tea.